Eclipse Resources ordered to pay more than $20m in landfill levies for Wanneroo and Kwinana facilities


Eclipse Resources will be required to pay more than $20 million in landfill levy fees dating back to 2008.
Eclipse Resources will be required to pay more than $20 million in landfill levy fees dating back to 2008.

A PERTH waste management company will have to pay more than $20 million for the state’s landfill levy and penalties dating back to 2008.

The High Court of Australia dismissed Eclipse Resources’ appeal against a WA Supreme Court decision that it should pay the levy for its three facilities in the cities of Wanneroo and Kwinana.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson welcomed the High Court’s September 14 decision, which ended a long-running battle between the State Government and the company.

The case started after the levy increased from $3 to $12 per cubic metre in 2008 and Eclipse had not paid the levy since then, arguing its activities at the Neerabup, Carramar and Postans facilities did not constitute disposal of waste to landfill.

The company lost an appeal to the Court of Appeal in May against the Supreme Court’s March 2016 decision, which ordered it to pay almost $21.5 million in outstanding levy and penalties.

“This is a significant win for the State Government and most importantly, for the environment,” Mr Dawson said.

“The landfill levy acts as an incentive to reduce waste disposed of to landfills and encourage the recycling of waste.

“It also generates funds for a wide range of environmental projects which benefit the community including educational programs and initiatives such as the greatly anticipated container deposit scheme.

“The State will continue to pursue Eclipse to recover the unpaid landfill levy plus penalties for non-payment.”

The case related to Eclipse’s liability to pay the levy for fill used at the former quarry sites on Wanneroo Road in Neerabup, Flynn Drive in Carramar and Abercrombie Road in Postans.

According to the Court of Appeal judgement, the company accepted 443,380 cubic metres of fill at the Postans facility, 96,824 at the Carramar site and 96,464 at Neerabup between July 1, 2008 and September 30, 2014.

Materials received from third parties included clean construction and demolition materials, sand, rocks, peat and soils.

“The materials received by Eclipse, for filling voids, were materials that the third parties did not want or need,” the judgement said.

“Eclipse did not pay for any of the material that it received at the sites to be deposited and compacted in the voids. The third parties generally paid Eclipse to accept the material.”

The company had argued the materials it used were not waste, and in 2011, it told Community Newspaper Group the levy should not apply because it was creating valuable land in old quarries by using or recycling inert material as fill.

Eclipse Resources outlined its plans for the Carramar and Neerabup sites in the North Coast Times in 2011.

At the Carramar site, it created a 20ha landscaped park and its goal was to restore the Neerabup site, which it leased from the State Government, to national park condition.

“While Eclipse had a commercial use for the material it deposited into the voids, its usefulness was that it could and would be buried as landfill,” the May judgement said.

“The materials which were received and sent to landfill were not, on the judge’s findings, shown to be a valuable commodity or article of commerce.”

Community Newspaper Group contacted Eclipse Resources for comment, but did not receive a response.

According to the website for its sister company Eclipse Soils, the businesses “have sustainability as a core company policy – focusing on environmental, economic and social outcomes”.

The current landfill levy is $90 per cubic metre for inert waste, and $65 per tonne for putrescible waste.

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